Labour’s Plan to Prioritise the Rich and Big Business

Labour has in the past made much of cash for access attacks on Ministers – most recently on Kwasi after the mini-budget. Now the party has its eyes on government it too plans to get closer to corporate interests. In an internal document obtained by Guido, the party intends to raise an initial immediate target of £250,000 by deploying shadow ministers to “business engagement” events. They also plan to “cultivate and maintain” corporate contacts. A Labour press release from just days ago criticised the Tories for “prioritising the rich and big business”. Perhaps they might want to rethink that attack line…

Note how they are clearly aware that they are going to be pushing the legal boundaries, to generate hundreds of thousands coordinating with the leader’s office and glad handing at business engagement events without being caught offering policy changes. They may claim euphemistically to be “engaging with business”, the document makes clear that the real purpose is to “ensure income maximisation from events” and “to work closely with the fundraising team to ensure business contacts who may also be interested in a donor relationship are identified and effectively managed”. In other words, businessmen are to be flattered and fêted in return for their cash.

Keir is already facing internal criticism for moving away from the unions, who in turn are threatening to withdraw funding. He might now have the “who funds you” cash for access brigade on his case too…

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Labour Attack Tories for Selling Access to Kwasi, While Auctioning Afternoon Tea with Jenny Chapman

Last Wednesday Labour was furious at the Tories for ‘offering access’ to the next chancellor ahead of the forthcoming party conference. Responding to the report in The Guardian that donors can pay £3,000 to meet Kwasi Kwarteng, Labour MP Jon Trickett accused the Tories of putting democracy up for sale:

Alastair Campbell commented, “same old Tories same old sleaze.” Transparency International said the move “reinforces public concerns that cash buys privileged access and influence in our democracy.”

Guido was astonished, therefore, to see Sir Keir’s own St. Pancras Labour branch simultaneously launching a fundraising auction to raise cash for “our General Election campaign and [get] Keir into Number 10.” One of the prizes? Tea for two with Shadow Cabinet member Jenny Chapman…

Admittedly the prize of tea with one of Starmer’s most senior colleagues stands head and shoulders above some of the other items up for auction, including a signed copy of Sir Keir’s 2021 conference speech that even his own team admitted droned on for far too long.

Politicians selling access to wealthy individuals is a practise as old as time, yet Labour continually gets on their high horse about it. £3,000 to meet the Chancellor of the Exchequer at Tory conference is a hell of a steal given Labour charges £5,000 to donors in return for dinners with Shadow Cabinet members…

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Hourly Rates for Ian Blackford, Keir Starmer & Ed Davey

All the recent publicity means you may be in the market to hire a politician for yourself. Don’t mess about with backbenchers, go to the top and rent a party leader by the hour. Guido has gone into the declarations of the leaders of the parties who are going to spend the afternoon attacking Tory sleaze. All are available to rent by the hour at competitive rates:

  • The biggest earning leader is the LibDem’s Ed Davey, who makes £78,000-a-year for 120 hours work from his side hustles. Giving him an hourly rate of £650.
  • Keir Starmer’s latest declarations show him trousering £25,934.18 in the last 12 months for 106 hours work. Billing an hour of his time at a mere £247.
  • The SNP’s Ian Blackford makes a handy £38,967 for just 32 hours work on his side-hustles. Giving the canny Scot the highest hourly rental rate of a whacking great £1,217.71!

Before he was Shadow Brexit Secretary, Starmer was paid for legal work for Mischon De Reya while he was MP, having previously held an advisory role at Mishcon for four months in 2016. According to several reports, Starmer pocketed an eye-watering £4,500 for six hours’ work – £750-an-hour – so his rates have come down with his personal polling numbers.

Worth reflecting on how much they make from their own side hustles when they attack Owen Paterson later this afternoon…

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Political Donors Meet Politicians Shock

As it is silly season the papers are full of the shocking news that people who give wads of cash to political parties get invited to meet politicians. They may even eat and drink with them whilst talking about politics. Labour has a “Chair’s Circle” where donors who part with a minimum of £5,000 join “the highest level of giving within the party“. Donors get to go to dinners with Shadow Cabinet members, VIP events at party conference with the highlight being a “Chair’s Circle welcome reception, hosted by Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Angela Rayner”. Don’t all rush…

UPDATE: Amanda Milling has hit back at Labour. In a letter sent to Anneliese Dodds, Milling highlights Labour’s donor access hypocrisy:

“Indeed in the past year the Labour Party has taken just over £1.2 million from Unite. Due to Labour infighting, this has fallen by over £4.5 million since August 2019.

Over the weekend I read that the Labour Party is now seeking donations from billionaire businessmen, such as Lord Sainsbury and Sir Trevor Chinn.

I would also like to remind you that the Labour Party runs its own Chair Circle Membership group and the Rose Network whose members can pay a fee to get access to Sir Keir Starmer, yourself, and other senior Labour Party Shadow Cabinet members. On your website it states that: “As a Rose Network member, you’ll be invited to a programme of events, including live webinar discussions with key politicians””

She concludes by asking whether Labour would prefer political parties to be funded by taxpayers instead…

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Cash for Access Sinner Straw’s Sermon on Integrity

Disgraced Jack Straw is taking some time out from offering to take cash-for-access to chair a lecture on “integrity and public service” at Westminster Abbey. Promotional literature for the church’s “Integrity” series says Straw will address questions such as: “What does it mean for a public servant to have integrity?” Like he would know…

Readers will remember Straw was caught on camera by undercover reporters arranging a cash-for-access deal, boasting how he operates “under the radar” using a “combination of charm and menace”, naming a price of £5000-a-day. The same Jack Straw who was damned by Chilcot for his behaviour during the Iraq War, the same Jack Straw facing kidnap and torture claims over the rendition of a Libyan dissident. Who better to speak about integrity in politics?

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